Sections

The old country

for The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

In one scene of a new novel by former Brooklyn resident Frank J. Pennisi, a group of Sicilians wielding flaming wine bottles full of gasoline have a confrontation with striking Irish workers on the Red Hook docks.

Guiseppe, one of the main characters in the historically-minded “Sciatu Mio,” looks out at the chaos and thinks of World War I before quickly realizing that this isn’t Europe; this is New York City in the 1930s.

The book covers three generations of one family’s story that goes from Italy to Brooklyn to Jacksonville, and back to the Kings County again, giving readers a lesson on Italian history as well as the bloody politics of New York City.

And while Pennisi’s novel takes readers to many unexpected places, it’s not always brutal.

Readers who are unfamiliar with the so-called old Brooklyn will be surprised to find Michael, the youngest of the three characters in this tale of a family tree, enjoying wine with his grandmother — in what was once a common thing in Brooklyn, a basement cellar full of home-made bottles of wine.

In the end, it is perhaps a cliche of this type of book, but the central concern is family and love. Like any good page turner, there’s plenty of romance, deceit, and action, but the novel transcends its tropes with an impassioned insistence that the often stereotyped Sicilian people have a story that is both historic and human. Pennisi was born in 1942 in Red Hook, and is the only child of Sicilian immigrants.

It is clear that this book is very personal.

Pick up a copy of “Sciatu Mio” at Bookmark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5115, www.bookmarkshoppe.com].

Updated 10:14 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: